Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH is still the richest man in France in 2020. - Thibault Camus / AP / SIPA

Despite the Covid-19 epidemic which has put many businesses in difficulty, the cumulative amount of the 500 largest fortunes in France increased by 3% in 2020 to reach the record level of 730 billion euros. This is the report published this Wednesday by the magazine Challenges . Which reveals the ranking of the largest fortunes in France. The wealth of the 500 richest therefore continued to grow despite the health crisis, which redistributed the cards within the ranking published on Wednesday, without dethroning Bernard Arnault and more generally the luxury sector.

A fortune which represents a third of the GDP

This cumulative fortune represents "the equivalent of one third of the GDP expected this year", a share that has increased tenfold since 1996, during the first edition of the prize list, specifies Challenges . The shareholders of companies operating in sectors less affected by the coronavirus crisis have logically done well.

Like last year, luxury dominates the ranking, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and his family in the lead, with a fortune that jumped 13% to reach the 100 billion euro mark for the first time. The Hermès family ranks second behind, with 55.5 billion.

"The billionaires do not give enough": the call of Gabriel Attal, secretary of state responsible for community life @gamacke 🗣

- Challenges (@Challenges) May 25, 2020

Health, a well-represented sector

Health entrepreneurs have also seen their fortunes increase significantly, like Alain Mérieux and his family, who control the laboratory specializing in bioMérieux diagnostics (+ 54% to 8 billion euros, 13th place) or Gilles and Yves-Loïc Martin, heirs of the Eurofins Scientific laboratories (+ 65% to 3.8 billion euros, 27th place). Health is also well represented among the sixty new entrants to the ranking: Stéphane Bancel, co-founder of biotech Moderna, even made one of the best arrivals, landing in 66th place with 1.45 billion euros.

Among those who saw their fortunes shrink during the year, we find entrepreneurs from the catering and hotel industries, sectors particularly hit by confinement and the consequences of the health crisis. The boss of the Bertrand group (Burger King, Hippopotamus ...), Olivier Bertrand, thus saw his fortune decrease by 27% to 400 million euros (207th place). Another example, the wealth of Dominique Desseigne and the Desseigne-Barrière family, who control the Lucien Barrière group of hotels and casinos, was cut by around a third, falling to 610 million euros and in 142nd place, against the 103rd last year.


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